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Guide to the Louis Mertins Papers, 1912-1984
BANC MSS 84/151 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Louis Mertins Papers, 1912-1984
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 84/151 c
    Creator: Mertins, Louis, 1885-
    Extent: Number of containers: 7 boxes, 1 carton, 1 volume, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 4.25
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Papers are devoted to Mertins' study of Robert Frost and his life. The collection includes correspondence, chiefly letters from friends and associates concerning Robert Frost and the writing of Mertins' books on Frost, as well as his original manuscripts. Other than a scrapbook containing reviews of Mertins' book, Robert Frost Life and Talks-Walking, and newspaper articles relating to its publication, the remainder of the collection consists of materials gathered in the course of Mertin's research, and his extensive clipping files on Frost. Of particular note is a copy of Frost's will and a genealogy of his family, along with newspaper articles recounting many important events in Frost's life. Also of interest are references to the work of Lawrance Thompson, Frost's "official" biographer, in the letters of Daniel Smythe.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research, with the following exceptions:
    Manuscripts of Robert Frost Life and Talks-Walking, in Boxes 6-7 and Carton 1 RESTRICTED until January 1, 2000.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Louis Mertins Papers, BANC MSS 84/151 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    Robert Frost letters and telegrams ... to Louis Mertins, 1932-1960, BANC MSS 73/56 z
    Louis Mertins drafts, printed copies of poems, etc., [ca. 1938-1943], BANC MSS C-H 1
    Mertins Collection of Robert Frost [book collection, various call numbers]

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Louis Mertins Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Esther Mertins in June 1984.

    Biography

    Louis Mertins was a man of great diversity. He attended the William Jewell College from 1905 to 1910, while simultaneously attending the Kansas City Seminary in 1906 and 1907. From 1911 to 1916, Mertins served as a Baptist minister in Missouri, and in the years following, was a poet, lecturer on Western literature, columnist, and radio commentator.
    In 1939, Mertins and his wife, Esther Pedersen Erickson, began compiling a critical bibliography of the work of Robert Frost, a personal friend of the Mertins, a project which would occupy much of the rest of their lives. Published in 1947 as The Intervals of Robert Frost, the bibliography was highly praised for its personable, intimate approach to Frost and his work.
    Following publication of the bibliography, Mertins began gathering material for a biography on Frost, Robert Frost Life and Talks-Walking, which was published in 1965. The title refers to the numerous walks Frost and Mertins enjoyed during Frost's visits to the Mertins' home in Redlands, California. The book was much more than the usual biography with its reminiscences on a friendship that lasted many years.
    The Mertins were also avid collectors of "Frostana," including letters, books, and other memorabilia of Robert Frost. Much of their collection has been donated to the University of California, Berkeley.

    Scope and Content

    The Louis Mertins Papers are almost exclusively devoted to Mertins' study of Robert Frost and his life. The collection includes correspondence, chiefly letters from friends and associates concerning Robert Frost and the writing of Mertins' books on Frost, as well as his original manuscripts, including several edited and revised copies and galleys. Other than a scrapbook containing reviews of Mertins' book, Robert Frost Life and Talks-Walking, and newspaper articles relating to its publication, the remainder of the collection consists of materials gathered in the course of Mertin's research, and his extensive clipping files on Frost.
    Of particular note in Mertins' files on Frost is a copy of Frost's will and a genealogy of his family, along with newspaper articles recounting many important events in Frost's life. Among these are his 1947 trip to the University of California, Berkeley where he was awarded an honorary degree, his 1958 visit to the campus which coincided with the arrival of much of Mertins' Frost material, and President John F. Kennedy's inauguration, at which Frost recited his poem, "The Gift Outright". Also of interest are the many references to the work of Lawrance Thompson, Frost's "official" biographer, in the letters of Daniel Smythe.